Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum, is the capital city of the state of Kerala. The cityscape is rendered distinct by a surging topography that consists of reclining hills, thriving woodlands, long winding coast lines, hectic town pathways and bustling metropolitan suburbs. The city that has a population of 9.58 lakhs inhabitants is the Biggest and Most densely inhabited City in Kerala.
Best known for its scenic and undulating nature and warm hospitality, Thiruvananthapuram, also called as Trivandrum is one of the prominent cities in India. The rapid growth in IT, particularly in the software industry has transformed Trivandrum into the fourth hottest IT destination in India. The city has emerged as a fasted developing IT and Commercial hub in recent years.
Trivandrum significantly chips in almost eighty percent of the state's software exports and is acclaimed as a chief IT hub of the state. Thiruvananthapuram stands tall when it comes to infrastructure and social development indices and has been ranked as the No.1 upcoming city for IT/ITeS ventures by Knight Frank, U.K. Of the two cities identified by the NASSCOM –Kearney study Report as ‘Challengers’, Thiruvananthapuram is one.
Trivandrum is the knowledge capital of the Kerala, boasting of premier R&D institutions of national and international stature such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (Space Launch Vehicle Design and Development activity), integral arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, employing over 7000 high tech professionals; the Regional Research Laboratory which is home to scientists working in cutting edge research areas of agro processing, chemical technologies, biotechnology, waste water technology, material sciences and mineral processing; the Electronics Research and Development Centre India ER & DCI, which has established itself as one of India's premier electronics design and development centers and training centres for IBM mainframes; the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (www.rgcb.org), Kerala's apex research center for Biotechnology; the Tropical and Botanical Research Institute under the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India; the Centre for Development Studies, a premier Social Science research institution engaged in interdisciplinary research in the development problems in India; the Centre for Earth Science Studies, a centre for excellence in Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research(IISER-TVM)-an instituion dedicated to scientific research and science education of international standards, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)- first in the world to offer the complete range of undergraduate, post graduate, doctoral programmes with specific focus to space science, technology and applications.
Thiruvananthapuram is a strategically very important city in Southern India. Being the largest city in extreme south, it is important for both military and civil aviation. It is the headquarters of the Southern Air Command (SAC) of the Indian Air Force. It also provides a key link in the movement of goods and passengers to and from southern parts of Tamil Nadu into Kerala, the state border being just 30 km from the city centre.
Thiruvananthapuram has witnessed expeditious growth in the industrial and commercial sector. With big industrial tycoons coming in, it has opened doors of opportunities to many small and medium scale industries. Thiruvananthapuram was listed as one of the top 10 cites in India on Vibrancy Index and Consumption Index by a study conducted by global financial services firm Morgan Stanley. The opening of many private television channels in the state made Thiruvananthapuram the home of several studios and related industries. Tourism has also contributed heavily to the economy of Thiruvananthapuram.
Thiruvananthapuram is also a well known academic hub. The University of Kerala and the regional headquarters of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) are situated here. There are many professional education colleges including fifteen engineering colleges, three medical colleges, three Ayurveda colleges, two Homeopathy colleges, six other medical related colleges, and two law colleges in the city and its suburbs.
Thiruvananthapuram is a home of several renowned Science and Research centres like University of Kerala, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala, Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER) etc.
South India has played a vital role making India a leading IT software exporter in the world. Thiruvananthapuram can be called as a Silicon Valley of Kerala which contributes nearly 80 percent software export from the state. The city has ample human talent. Major chunk of highly qualified IT professionals in Kerala comes from Thiruvananthapuram. The establishment of the Technopark has further escalated growth of the software industry making Thiruvananthapuram the best 2nd tier metro with IT/ITES infrastructure. The Technopark is home to nearly 300 IT companies including some of the big giants like Nissan, Tech Mahindra, Oracle, Infosys, TCS, Tata Elxsi, IBS Software Services, NeST Software, SunTec Business Solutions etc. It employs more than 60000 IT professionals.
Vizhinjam port will cater primarily to transshipment traffic. The port is expected to attract low volume of gateway traffic, i.e. port traffic originating in or destined for Kerala, due to the lack of industry in the immediate hinterland of the port. According to VISL estimates, of the total vessels expected to call at the port, 80% will account for transshipment of which 60% will be foreign ships. Only 20% of the traffic will handle gateway cargo.
Analysis by Drewry as part of a study commissioned by VISL shows that Colombo handles 35% of the Indian Sub-Continent (ISC) transshipment traffic. Only around 4% of of ISC transshipment is handled by other ports within the subcontinent. The rest 61% is through ports outside of the subcontinent important among them being Singapore, Salalah, Jebel Ali, Dubai etc. Once completed, Vizhinjam, it is claimed, will attract transshipment from these ports and increase India’s share in the transshipment business of the region, thereby contributing significantly to the revenues of the region and reducing import/export costs. It is also claimed that the port would also boost the gateway traffic from the hinterland (primary being Kerala) by opening up new supply-chain networks. All estimates of economic feasibility are made on the central assumption that Vizhinjam would be able to draw a substantial proportion of traffic away from its competing foreign transshipment hubs.
It is in the film studios of Thiruvananthapuram that Malayalam cinema found its identity.
Thiruvananthapuram is the home of legends of Malayalam cinema such as Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Madhu, Thikkurissi, Adoor Bhasi, the Travancore Sisters – Lalitha, Padmini, Ragini, their cousin Sukumari, Gopi, Mohanlal, Jagathy Srikumar and many more stalwarts.
When the magic of cinema draws thousands to the enchantment played out on the silver screen, the capital city will again be celebrating its tryst with cinema.
A must on every tourist itinerary, the Padmanabhaswami temple with its gopuram (tower) soaring majestically upwards, is believed to be one of the 108 shrines sacred to the Vaishnavites in India. Within its hallowed precincts, the main pavilion impresses with its 400 beautifully carved pillars of granite. The 100-feet-high gopuram comprises seven stories with each center. The stone basement of the tower is covered with elaborate sculptures and the masonry above is replete with ornamental works of figures from the Puranas and other ancient scriptures. Tapering towards the top, it bears the statue of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Inside the temple, the main shrine is well guarded with a number of massive doors, and darshan (audience) can be had through the three-door openings into the sanctum sanctorum. Besides this magnificent temple, Thiruvananthapuram offers a great deal more. There is the Observatory to start with, established over a hundred years ago. Several kings have also built their palaces in and around the city, each more impressive than the other. Despite a few attempts at modernity, the city retains its discreet, old-world charm. One can visit the Museum with its profusion of gables and turrets. A repository of fine works of art, the chief attraction here is the 250-year-old temple car made for Lord Vishnu, artistically designed and ornamented. Besides this, objects carved out of wood, models of temple, antique jewelry, etc., make the museum worth a visit.
Lying within the museum compound, Sri Chitra Art Gallery proves to be an ideal place for art lovers. The piece de resistance is the large section devoted to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, an Indian painter of distinction in the history of the country's modern art. Besides him, the Indian section also contains works of Rabindranath Tagore, Jamimi Roy, K. K. Hebar, miniatures from the Rajput and Mughal schools of painting and the famous Tanjore paintings encrusted with semi-precious stones. The gallery's collection also includes paintings from Indonesia, China, and Japan. Then, of course, a trip to Thiruvananthapuram is incomplete without a boat-ride on its enchanting backwaters. These waterways teem with life. It is not surprising, since there are more miles of waterways in the state - approximately 1,900 km to the 1,000 km of rail. The landscape is dotted with picturesque palms and thatched huts. One can be seduced by the panorama of beautiful landscapes, beaches and waterways, coconut palms and, of course, beautiful, friendly people.
Two nearby places worth visiting while in Trivandrum are Veli and Shankhumugham; the former has been converted into a superb tourist village while the latter boasts of lovely temples and a huge statue of a mermaid presently being worked upon by a famous sculptor.
An absolute must is Kovalam that lies barely 18 km away. The beach is considered one of the finest in the world and provides ingredients for an ideal holiday. Besides swimming, there are opportunities for surfing and water skiing - even an exhilarating catamaran ride into the sea.